Brownsville Specialty Center
Brownsville boy is 'a totally different person' since leukemia diagnosis
May 03, 2013
Driscoll Children's Hospital physicians treat Andrew Banda in his hometown, Brownsville
BROWNSVILLE - Claudia Maldonado knew her son, Andrew Banda, was sick in January 2012. At 8 years old, he was too thin and his yellowish eyes revealed he had jaundice, she said. Still, the news that he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was a shock.
"I just couldn't believe it," Maldonado said, pausing to hold back tears. "It was very hard to hear. It's something that you never forget."
Andrew was diagnosed by physicians at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center in Brownsville, where he and his family live. In addition to jaundice, he was suffering from low blood cell counts and hepatomegaly, an enlargement of the liver. Hepatomegaly and low blood cell counts - anemia and leucopenia are the medical terms - are commonly associated with ALL, said Cris Johnson, MD, medical director of the Cancer & Blood Disorders Center at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Dr. Johnson, a hematologist/oncologist, has been involved in Andrew's treatment since he was diagnosed with ALL.
Soon after Andrew's diagnosis, he was admitted to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, where he began receiving chemotherapy treatments. Maldonado's family has no history of leukemia, she said, so her son's diagnosis and treatment have been learning experiences. Thorough, honest communication from Andrew's physicians has helped alleviate her fears.
"They explain everything very well," Maldonado said. "Even if it's something I might not want to hear, I need to know what's going on and what to expect. That makes a big difference. They're very good doctors. I feel very confident with them."
Maldonado and her parents stayed at the Ronald McDonald House near Driscoll to be close to Andrew during his month-long hospital stay. Despite the hardship, he adjusted well to his surroundings.
"He liked it because everyone would spoil him," Maldonado said with a laugh. "They would bring him movies to watch, and if he didn't like a certain meal they would bring him something else. I guess he got used to that."
Nationally, 2,500 to 3,000 children are diagnosed with leukemia each year, Dr. Johnson said, and cases of ALL among children in the Rio Grande Valley are consistent with the national incidence rate. Driscoll Children's Hospital physicians currently see 35 to 40 cancer patients in the Rio Grande Valley who are undergoing treatment, being followed after treatment or being counseled and monitored for the late effects of chemotherapy, she said. She and other Driscoll hematologists/oncologists regularly travel to see patients at the hospital's clinics in Brownsville and McAllen. A nurse practitioner is also available at the clinics.
Symptoms that may indicate a child has ALL include paleness, unusual bleeding and bruising, fever, lymph node swelling and bone pain, Dr. Johnson said.
Now 9, Andrew receives chemotherapy treatments at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, and he takes oral medication daily as his battle against ALL continues. A third grader, he enjoys school although he's unable to play contact sports due to a mediport in his chest, Maldonado said. A mediport is a disk placed under the skin that allows physicians to administer chemotherapy medication into his blood vessel or draw a blood sample. Andrew will continue chemotherapy treatments for two more years, his mother said.
Maldonado is upbeat about Andrew's future, saying that he's no longer "skinny" like he was in January 2012.
"He's a totally different person. Back then he was a size six. Now he's a size 14. I say, 'Instead of growing up you're growing from the sides.' As long as he's feeling good and healthy that's all that matters."
No snow, but lots of 'Ho, ho, ho!' coming to Driscoll's Brownsville clinic
July 03, 2012
BROWNSVILLE - Santa Claus has again accepted the invitation and will join the Volunteer Auxiliary at Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville July 19 for their sixth annual Christmas in July event. The community is invited to stop by and drop off unwrapped toys that will be given to patients who receive treatment this coming holiday season. Santa himself will be there to receive the toys and refreshments will be offered.
The community has responded so generously over the past five years that the event has become a bona fide tradition in Brownsville.
"It really is amazing to see so many people come out and donate toys every year to help make sure our patients have a special Christmas," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "The sense of caring and community pride is extraordinary."
To donate to the Christmas in July event, stop by Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville on July 19 or call Driscoll's Volunteer Services Department at (361) 694-5011. Checks may be made out to Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Auxiliary.
What: Christmas in July event
When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 19
Where: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, 5500 N. Expressway 77/83
Information: (361) 694-5011
Driscoll Children's GALA kicks off tonight in Mercedes
April 20, 2012
WHAT: Driscoll Children's Hospital and Whataburger present Driscoll Children's GALA, a fundraiser to be held tonight at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center in Mercedes. Formerly known as Fiesta de los Niños, the GALA will benefit Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics and the children who are treated there. It will include cocktails, a barbecue dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing to the music of Scott Randolph & The White Lightning Band.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 20
WHERE: Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Event Center, 1000 N. Texas Ave., Mercedes
INFO: Reagan Florence, (956) 688-1239 or email@example.com
Community supports children through donations to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen
April 02, 2012
McALLEN - The Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen recently received generous donations from local businesses and a school that will benefit the young patients of the Rio Grande Valley.
Ellen Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary chair (left) receives plush toys from Tina Coddington, Central Christian School computer and music director.
EZ PAWN and their charitable foundation, EZ Corp., donated a check for $2,598 to the Auxiliary. The funds were used to decorate the Medical Plaza's new Nuclear Radiology Clinic with wall art and a waiting area with a TV and large playscape.
The staff at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Palms Crossing donated more than 1,700 reading and activity books to the Auxiliary that will be given to patients as birthday and holiday gifts. The books will also be available in the Medical Plaza's waiting areas for children to enjoy while they're waiting to see a physician.
Also, more than 350 plush toys were donated by the students, administration and staff members of Central Christian School. The toys will be given as gifts to patients at the Medical Plaza throughout the Easter holiday.
The Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen relies on contributions from the community to help make medical treatment a positive experience for South Texas children. To donate or inquire about volunteer opportunities, contact the Volunteer Services Department at (361) 694-5011 or 1-800-DCH-LOVE or go to www.driscollchildrens.org and click on "Volunteer."
Pictured, left to right, are Gloria Martinez, Driscoll Auxiliary member, Pasqual Rodriguez, Mario Ortiz, Israel Cerda, Vidal Hernandez and Miguel Duran, all with EZ PAWN, and Aida Escobar, Driscoll Auxiliary vice chair.
Norma Martinez, assistant store manager at Barnes & Noble Booksellers (left), delivers books to Ellen Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary chair, and George Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary member.
Driscoll Children's Hospital, Whataburger to hold press conference, announce details of upcoming GALA
March 05, 2012
Driscoll Children's Hospital, Whataburger to hold press conference, announce details of upcoming GALA
WHAT: Whataburger officials will present a check for $40,000 to Driscoll Children's Hospital at a press conference and announce details about the upcoming Driscoll Children's Hospital GALA in the Rio Grande Valley. The GALA, formerly known as Fiesta de los Niños, will benefit Driscoll's specialty clinics in the Valley.
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 8
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Quick Care, 1120 E. Ridge Road, McAllen
National Weather Service Employees to deliver gifts to cancer patient
September 27, 2011
WHAT: Employees at the National Weather Service's Corpus Christi and Brownsville offices will present gifts they collected to a Driscoll cancer patient whose story they read on Driscoll's web site (www.driscollchildrens.org). Matthew Carroll, 8, of Brownsville, had to have his lower left leg amputated last March due to osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of the bone. He now receives care at Driscoll Children's Hospital and Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville.
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Brownsville, 5500 N. Expressway
New partnership to provide faster patient transports to Driscoll Children's Hospital
September 16, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital and HALO-Flight, Inc. have begun a partnership that will result in an unprecedented level of service for critically ill and injured children of South Texas. Beginning this month, HALO-Flight will dedicate a helicopter exclusively to Driscoll Children's Hospital. This partnership will significantly reduce the time it takes to transport patients to the hospital.
"The purpose of this partnership is to transport newborns, infants and children with life threatening illnesses and injuries to the hospital as fast as possible," said Steve Woerner, president and CEO of Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Helicopters roughly cut transport time in half compared to ambulances, according to Driscoll records. For example, the average round trip by ambulance from Driscoll to a hospital in Brownsville is seven hours. The same round trip by helicopter is around three hours.
"By having a dedicated HALO-Flight helicopter, Driscoll will be able to better serve children throughout our 31-county service area," Woerner said. "This is monumental in our mission of providing hope and healing to the children of South Texas."
Excellent patient care is at the forefront of HALO-Flight's partnership with Driscoll, said Tom Klassen, HALO-Flight, Inc.'s executive director.
"Our goal is to continue to provide advanced critical care utilizing our premier helicopters and the highly skilled flight crews at Driscoll. HALO-Flight is dedicated to ensuring that the children of South Texas have the opportunity for a better chance at life by receiving air ambulance transports. We are two companies who have been, and will continue to be, serving South Texas residents' emergent needs."
Driscoll Children's Hospital is the only major hospital in South Texas to have this partnership with HALO-Flight, according to Patricia Carr, director of Driscoll's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Transport Department. The hospital's service area covers 31 counties and 33,000 square miles, with its level III NICU offering the highest level of care in the area.
Driscoll, HALO-Flight to announce new partnership
September 15, 2011
WHAT: Officials from Driscoll Children's Hospital and HALO-Flight, Inc. will hold a press conference to announce a new partnership that will result in an unprecedented level of service for critically ill and injured children of South Texas. A helicopter will be unveiled during the event.
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16
WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital helipad, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Driscoll's McAllen clinic gives away school supplies courtesy of H-E-B
August 30, 2011
McALLEN - The Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen recently received a $1,000 donation from H-E-B to support their annual Back-To-School Supply Giveaway for their patients. Throughout August, Auxiliary members gave each patient a package of school supplies appropriate for their grade level. Driscoll's Auxiliary relies on contributions from the community to help make a positive impact in the lives of South Texas children. To learn more about helping, call the Auxiliary at (956) 688-1235 or (956) 289-3170.
Pictured, left to right, are: Margaret Kasofsky, Auxiliary member; Juan M. Davila; Juan Daniel Davila, a Driscoll patient; Kassandra Jasso, H-E-B public affairs; Sherry Cruz; Socorro Franz, Auxiliary member; and (sitting) Rory Steven Cruz, Driscoll patient.
Edinburg Cattlemen's RoundUp will appeal to visitors, ranchers alike
August 11, 2011
EDINBURG - On Saturday, August 13, young 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members and the Hidalgo County Extension Office will team up for a great cause. The 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at 10 a.m. at the Edinburg Livestock Auction, 3418 N. Closner Blvd.
A variety of products and services will be auctioned at the RoundUp that will appeal to visitors and ranchers alike. Members of 4-H and the FFA will offer a variety of homemade baked goods. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and other items for Driscoll Children's Hospital.
To make a donation and support local 4-H and FFA students and their efforts, visit the Driscoll Children's Hospital web site at www.driscollchildrens.org, call Driscoll at 956-223-0687 or call the Hidalgo County Extension Office at 956-383-1026.
- What: 24th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp
- When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13
- Where: Edinburg Livestock Auction, 3418 N. Closner Blvd.
- Information: 956-223-0687 or 956-383-1026